Pakistan earthquake: Rescue operation continues, death toll rises to 328

Eurasia News

QUETTA/KARACHI: The death toll has reached up to 328 with more than 450 others injured after a 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan a day ago, Dispatch News Desk reported on Wednesday.

The worst hit areas are Awaran and Khuzdar of Balochistan province, a spokesman of the provincial government said.

The spokesman said relief activities are going on in the area for the quake victims and the people injured critically are being shifted to Karachi. He said quake had drastically affected road and other means of communications creating difficulties for rescue teams to reach every tremor hit district.

Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps (FC) personnel are also helping in relief efforts in these areas.

Meanwhile‚ Sind government has dispatched two trucks carrying medicines while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab governments have offered all kind of assistance for quake-hit people of Balochistan.

The tremors were also felt in the adjoining province of Sindh, including cities of Karachi, Jacobabad, Khairpur, and Nowshero Feroz. The epicenter of the quake was 120Km southwest of Khuzdar in Balochistan province at a depth of 10 kilometres.

The earthquake was so powerful that it caused the seabed to rise and create a small, mountain-like island about 600 meters (yards) off Pakistan’s Gwadar coastline in the Arabian Sea.

Home Secretary Balochistan‚ Asad Gilani said the relief items including 500 food packets and 700 tents have been dispatched to Awaran.

An emergency has been declared Chaghi and Awaran districts. While a rescue operation has been launched in the area and all forces have been placed on high alert to retrieve the people from the rubble as several building, shops and mud houses in the district also collapsed during tremors.

Deputy Speaker Balochistan Assembly Abdul Qudoos told media that 30 per cent of houses in Awaran district have been destroyed.

The tremors were also felt in some parts of India‚ Iran‚ Dubai‚ Sharja and Muscat.

Pakistan Army and FC troops have been sent to the quake affected areas for rescue operations.

According to ISPR a military helicopter carrying medicines has also been dispatched to the quake-affected areas.

President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif have expressed deep shock and grief over the loss of precious lives in the earthquake. The President called upon all the concerned authorities to undertake every effort for rescue and relief of the affected people.

The Prime Minister directed chairman NDMA to keep him updated about the situation and ordered to begin rescue operation in the quake-hit areas. The Prime Minister also directed the local administration to provide all necessary help and assistance to the affected people on priority basis.

The Prime Minister said that the Federal Government would provide all possible assistance to the earthquake affectees and asked NDMA and Pakistan Army to assist the local administration in relief activities.

The Premier prayed to Almighty Allah to bless the departed souls with eternal peace and grant courage to the bereaved families to bear the irreparable loss with fortitude.

Balochistan Chief Minister‚ Dr. Abdul Malik in a statement expressed deep grief and sorrow over the human and property damages in Awaran‚ Khuzdar‚ Turbat and other districts of the province.

He directed administrations of affected areas especially Awaran and Turbat that relief activities may be started while Balochistan Chief Minister Dr. Abdul Maalik Baloch in a statement also directed Provincial Disaster Management Authority Balochistan that arrangements have been made to dispatch the relief goods in affected areas as soon as possible.

Chief Minister telephoned provincial Chief Secretary and inquired about the situation of earthquake and directed that the entire situation may be monitored. He said medicines‚ food‚ tents and other necessary items might also be dispatched in affected areas by Provincial Disaster Management Authority.

Dr. Malik Baloch also directed health department of the province and asked them to send doctors and paramedical staff to earthquake affected areas.